What a year it has been! COVID-19 feels like it has been around forever at this point, but it was just a year ago when countries across the world began to lockdown. Since then the job market has tanked, civil unrest and protests began to happen across the globe and natural disasters were a constant news item.
Numerous reports and studies have shown our collective outlook and morale fell off a cliff over the last 12 months. Here are some tips to become miserable.
We’ve talked at length in the past about the pull and power of isolation. For many, our way of work has totally changed and as a result, we are more isolated than we ever have been. Prolonged isolation is not good for you mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
Be intentional in your week to have time where you interact with others in some fashion. Even if that means turning on your camera during video calls and getting out where you can see some people. (walk in the park, grocery shopping, etc) Get out there and reconnect to the world the best that you can.
Frame circumstances in a “Why me?” format
These types of people think that the world is against them. Traffic is always bad, they can’t catch a break and if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. When you are at the end of your rope it’s easy to latch on to this idea and thought. I know that I have before during times that I have reached that point.
The “Why me” state of mind really is just that….it’s a state of mind. Everybody has unforeseen things and circumstances happen to them, but it’s how you handle it and approach it that makes all the difference. Approach each circumstance with positive intent and what you can do you quickly overcome what’s before you. Not so much what you can’t do, but instead what you can do in the situation.
Why mes also seem to see more bad things happen to them because they are looking for them and are very sensitive to them. It’s like a model of a car that you suddenly see around town after you bought that same model. You didn’t see them before because you didn’t have the awareness or were looking for them. Give your mind and emotions and break by letting go of the search for unfortunate things that pop up in your week, both big and small.
Eat much, move little
Well, I can say that this one got me over the COVID year. I had dropped quite a bit of weight and was preparing for my favorite race of the summer and then it was canceled. For about 3 months, I stopped running and starting eating….everything! It took a good bit of effort to get back on track and I still go back and forth some of my progress here.
Here is another example of changing work and habits that impacted us over the last year. We just stopped getting out of the house nearly as much as before and as a result, stopped moving.
Find some time throughout your day to take a few short breaks to get up and move around. Go for a walk during lunch. Spend some time outside at night and in the evenings. Go on a campout. Whatever that looks like for you, get and move some. Your stress will go down and you’ll feel better on several different levels.
Simply be miserable by not changing. You may be saying that you are miserable because of all the changes that have happened in the last year! I hear you, what I am saying is to continue to change and adapt to your new environment.
Find ways to push yourself to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This year I have taken up learning morse code and have a plan to get back where I want to be physically while continuing to lead in civic areas across my city. There is nothing worse than putting yourself in a tough spot and then resigning yourself to your situation. You change instead of sitting and waiting for the circumstances to change.
Being miserable is easy. Take the four tips above and you’ll be well of your way. We all have a choice when determining our own level of satisfaction. Choose to keep pushing forward even when it’s tough or you don’t know the direction.
Just because so many things are in conflict does not mean that we ourselves should be divided. -Sophie Scholl
Scholl grew up in Nazi Germany where she began passively resisting the teaching and programs as early as 13-years-old and through a small group of friends eventually lead a passive resistance movement centered around the philosophy that was a counterpoint to the Nazi propaganda machine. She held true to her beliefs as she was eventually caught and executed for high treason at the age of 21.
Sophie Scholl is a powerful example of integrity, accountability, and passion and she modeled several leadership characteristics that we can learn from today.
She leaned into her talents to contribute to the right cause
Scholl was no warrior. Rather than trying to defect to the Allied side during WWII, she leaned into her talents to make an impact where she was. She and a small group of friends began a passive resistance movement against the Nazi regime by writing articles and distributing leaflets around central Germany and the local university. The group and publication became known as the White Rose and several publications were distributed during the summer of 1942
What difference can you make? It’s sometimes hard to see how we as individuals can impact large-scale issues like climate change, racism, and false narratives. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the enormity of the situation look at your skills and talents. What are you great at or love to do and how can you use that skill and passion to contribute in some way?
The White Rose was a group of 5 kids and young adults who wrote, printed and distributed the material. During the spike in Black Lives Matter protests in the Spring of 2020, a high schooler in the Atlanta suburbs organized his own protests that saw hundreds of people unite from all walks of life. Don’t underestimate the level of impact that you can have on others.
She spoke up at a time that mattered
As time continues to separate the most current generation from at atrocities of the Nazis and the circumstances that led to WWII, people sometimes assume that the whole country backed the misguided values and mission of the Nazi leadership. That was certainly not the case. Sophie Scholl was one of many citizens in the country that voiced their concern and call to resist as the regime expanded across Europe.
Groupthink is the way of making decisions that discourage individualization and creativity. It has destroyed organizations, toppled governments and in the age of social media, led to people taking up sides with groups that they never should have been a part of.
Speak up to share your opinion in group meetings and gatherings. We conduct talent calibrations where leaders discuss their team with their peers and supervisor and talk about each individual’s performance and potential and we always learn new things about people in each session because we encourage everyone in the room to share their insight and dealings with the person currently being discussed. We can put up blinders when it comes to our people and as we lead strategically in both our personal and professional life.
Be intentional to break up groupthink if you see it manifesting itself on your team and have the courage to step up and make your voice heard.
She was brave and accountable
Sholl and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on February 18th, 1943. The group was making a run of dropping off the sixth leaflet through the main building on campus. They had a suitcase full of the printings and left stacks outside the classes so the students would find them after class was over. Sophie found a few remaining copies still in the suitcase and threw them from the top floor down into the atrium. This unplanned action was observed by the university maintenance man, who reported them to the Gestapo
They were arrested and taken into custody where the interrogator initially thought that Scholl was innocent. After her brother confessed, Sophie assumed full responsibility in order to protect the rest of the White Rose. The Gestapo moved quickly in the case. In just 4 days after the arrest, the group was put on trial, found guilty, and were executed by guillotine.
Scholl could have easily denied her involvement and may have gotten away free, but instead, she took responsibility and it ultimately cost her her life. Accountability is not always about life and death consequences, but your integrity and word do hold value. What is your word worth to those around you? (EP 179)
Your team, family, and friends are counting on you to hold onto your integrity. If you believe in something, be willing to stand up for the idea or value during tough times. Instead of lashing out when standing up for your value and position, own your stance, and present it in a caring and empathetic way.
A few interesting facts
The sixth leaflet that was being distributed when the White Rose was arrested, was smuggled out of Germany and made it back to the UK. They in turn mass-produced the document and airdropped it over Germany.
The school where the White Rose was caught is called Ludwig Maximilians University and is still in existence. Today a memorial to the group sits outside the main building that they were caught at.
Although not as widely known in the US, Scholl is much more recognized in Europe. Her legacy lives on in several films, literature, plays, and music.
Sophie was one of six siblings. Her sister Elisabeth married Sophie’s long-term boyfriend after her execution and lived 100 years nearly to the day. She passed away on Feb 28, 2020.
Lean into your talent and passion to leverage your values to impact others. Follow your conscience as you break up group think, own your intentions, and embrace accountability for yourself and others.
The real way to gain happiness is to give it to others. -Lord Robert Baden-Powell
Robert Baden-Powell is the father of the scouting movement that eventually grew to be the largest and most significant youth movement of the 20th century. Millions of scouts owe at least some of their success to principles and lessons that they learned in the scouting program as a youth.
While he turned out to be an inspiring leader, he started out just as many of us do, trying to find his place in leadership and the world.
He chased his Calling only to find it somewhere else
Baden-Powell seemed to always be chasing his Calling as a young adult. He was a serviceman in the English Army, serving as a scout, spy, and several different leadership roles. He was also a prolific writer and wrote many books wrapped around hunting and military characters. Throughout most of Baden-Powell’s career he thought that if he had combat experience, he would be validated in his leadership.
He got that experience in South Africa while his troops defended a small town of Mafeking from over 7000 Boers for 217 days and the age of 43. Baden-Powell finally got the acclimation and respect from his peers following the event, but it was the campaign itself that was the beginning of his true Calling. He found a passion for developing youth in Mafeking by creating the Mafeking Cadet Corps to take care of the smaller tasks around town.
As you chase your own Calling (Ep 161) Be willing aware of the changing environment around you. What’s changed around you? How have you changed over the years? Do you have new passions or talents that you didn’t have several years ago? Callings can change…and maybe you aren’t following your lasting Calling, but your Calling for now. Be willing to let go of or use the old to help move towards future growth and impact.
He was a leader who thought about the future
During his last military assignment, Baden-Powell attended the annual Boys Bridge drill ceremony in Glasglow. Here William Smith, founder of the youth group, asked Baden-Powell to rewrite his book Aides for Scouting for a younger audience. This spurred him to publish articles and magazines about the topic and he hosted the first scouting campout. He was truly inspired to help future generations develop their character and skill to become great citizens and leaders.
Time has a way of tempting us to focus on the here and now and not worry about the future. Let the future worry about itself! That train of thought and behavior costs people relationships, careers, and happiness among other things. As a society, we are currently dealing with the impact of climate change, inflation, and debt loads in part because of past generations. Clean up the past and pave a way for the future.
Understand what’s important to those around you and help support them in turning their dreams and goals into a reality. Leverage your network, resources, and time to build up others to greatness.
Always take care of your future self. Do something today that helps you when you wake up in the morning. I thank my past self all the time for taking care of me. I’ve also got to continue paying it forward as well.
Slow down to reflect on what’s truly important today and what is just a distraction at the moment. We waste a lot of time and energy on things that simply won’t matter in a few years from now. Focus that energy on things that will carry you forward instead.
His communication started from where the other person was
“See things from the boy’s point of view.”
Baden-Powell was often quoted in his teaching about leading from the perspective of the boy. The program would only be successful when it met the youth where they were and instilled leadership and citizenship principles on their terms. As he expanded the scouting program over the years to younger and older children, he was mindful to adapt the material to the child’s changing needs and wants as they grew up.
“Can we not interpret our adult wisdom into the language of boyhood?”
Sometimes we have a tendency to start our communication from our point of view, but Baden-Powell knew that it was essential to start from the other person’s position and life stage in order to connect a message. How often from the other person’s perspective and work to guide and inform them instead of starting from a distant point and trying to pull the people to you?
Your success rate in communicating vision and change will increase as you think about your audience first and work from there in crafting your strategy and message. I doubt scouting would have taken off it was a bunch of formal meetings and lessons as opposed to learning activities, camping, and other outdoor adventures.
A few interesting facts
In 2019 Boy Scouts of America controversially began allowing girls to participate in the program. Powell himself was supportive of girls in scouting. Over 8,000 had joined in 1910. He later convinced his sister Agnes to organize their own movement. It was called the Girl Guides.
In some countries in Asia, Scouting is an official institution and is run with firm military discipline, as opposed to the laid-back, volunteer-parent atmosphere seen in the US. While there are general understandings and shared values, how the program administered varies by country.
Earning your Eagle Scout badge has its privileges. You get an automatic promotion in the military when you enlist in the US military, as well as special discounts, scholarships, and other benefits that follow you for the rest of your life.
11 of the 12 people that have walked on the moon were Eagle Scouts.
Continue to chase your purpose while building yourself and others towards the future and communicate in a way that connects with your audience.
Trust is the most highly valued commodity when it comes to relationship building, both in your personal and professional life. Your level of comfortability, authenticity, and transparency are all heavily influenced by your level of trust in someone. So how do we react when someone breaks our trust?
Lean into self-management during the moment
Self-management is a part of emotional intelligence is all about how you act, react, or don’t respond at all to people and situations. You’ll especially want to strengthen and lean into your self-management skills in heat of the moment when you’ve found out that there has been a break in trust.
Think of breaking trust like accidentally dropping a mug and breaking it. It was fine just a second ago and now it’s in pieces on the floor. Having poor self-management would be like you stomping on the mug and breaking it even further rather than taking a moment and starting to clean up. How you react at the moment can cause further damage or can re-direct the conversation on what positive steps can be taken next.
Take some time to heal and reflect
No one should expect a larger break in trust to be immediately forgiven. There is likely a lot of hurt, questions about other topics you trusted the person with, and now a reluctance to continue to trust that person.
It’s ok to take some time for yourself and give yourself and the other person time to reflect on what the break-in trust was and why it happened. Schedule time together to continue the conversation after you’ve had a chance to look at the issue holistically.
Be willing to forgive and move forward
There are going to be times when someone breaks your trust and either they won’t admit it or won’t be willing to apologize for what they have done. As hard as it may be, you’ll need to get to a point, eventually, where you are willing to forgive the person and move on.
I had an earth-shattering break in trust in my father that led us to not speaking for several years. After I accepted that he wasn’t going to apologize, I found myself looking for closure. I reached out and we cleared the air and this led to us starting to rebuild our relationship. That same year he passed away suddenly. I am so thankful that we were able to reconnect and begin to move past the issue.
You never know when the dynamic of a relationship will dramatically shift. Take it from me, letting go and forgiving someone is much more powerful than holding on to anger and resentment.
Give them another chance
I’m not advocating that you immediately give the person back all the trust and respect you had for them prior to the incident. Instead, give them small chances to rebuilt trust and earn the right to get back to the point that they previously were with you.
Even though they are the ones at fault, you have the power to allow them to rebuild a mutually respectful relationship again.
Make a better tomorrow. -ZH
Maybe you have broken trust with someone. Be sure to check out our podcast- Betrayal of Trust (EP 47)to hear actions that you can take to earn someone’s trust back
The term “culture fit” is used with increasing frequency as more companies and teams begin to actually live out their values. In prior decades those values often hung on the walls of the office but never held true meaning. Today they are used to focus their employees and are used as a gateway to secure the newest generation of workers entering the workforce.
But what culture is fit anyway? Many hiring managers and recruiters use the term generically when finding a reason not to bring on someone. Are you looking for someone that truly matches your culture and values or are you looking for someone that you would want to hang out with?
Focus on the right match
Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, shares several stories on how the company was successful in its early days of scaling up by looking for the right matches in unconventional places instead of staying in the traditional lanes of recruiting and culture fit.
As I look back on my career, some of the best hires that I’ve had have come from unconventional places. Sometimes it was from a totally different industry and other times it was from a vastly different personal journey. Focus on what the person values as well as their problem-solving ability and teachability. If those are aligned you are likely going to have an unstoppable team member join the group.
On the flip side, I’ve hired some people that I thought would be a great fit personality-wise that ended up disappointing me both in their performance and their potential. Take the time to ensure that match is solid before advancing a future teammate.
Mix personalities for the best teams
On the surface, it may seem like you want to align the personalities of the people with the leader for the best results. A study from Harvard Business Review suggests that the opposite may be true. Introverted leaders were more effective at leading extroverts and extroverts were better fits for leading introverts.
Introverted leaders were more likely to greenlight and support extroverts’ out-of-the-box thinking and ideas. Think about the dynamics here for a moment. A great introverted leader is reflective, thoughtful, strategic, and likely has good self-awareness. It brings balance to the extroverted team member’s approach and the introverted leader leverages the talents and passions of others that they don’t have. When an extravert leads another extravert, they will sometimes compete for ideas, are more likely to push their own perspective, and may want more oversight into a project.
My most successful teams were ones that were built very intentionally around bringing in other personality types, backgrounds, and life perspectives. We all held the same core values desire to meet our goals, but it wasn’t too uncommon for people on the team to have different reasons for wanting to get there.
Check your culture
It’s good from time to time to step back and check your culture. Is your culture different from your values or mission? Is your culture wrapped around a personality type instead of a philosophical way on how you go about your business?
I hear the phrase, “We want good, high energy, people” often when I’m helping a leader or group build, or rebuild, a team. While great people are what we are all looking for, starting with a preconceived notion of what that person looks and acts like only limits your ability to find someone that truly fits the role.
If you’ve seen the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, you know that that company’s culture is such a part of the movie that is its own character in the film. Driven solely by behaviors and personalities as opposed to the right fit.
Avoid letting “culture fit” drive additional bias as you bring on new people. Your business and team will benefit as you bring in people that match your values while having a different perspective.
Colin Hunter is an Author, Mentor, Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Potential Squared, an international business that specializes in creating playgrounds to disrupt the way people are led. Three areas of focus include: Building Leadership Capabilities, Strengthening Functional Capabilities, and guiding Innovative Cultures.
Colin generates a lasting professional impact with those he works with and is renowned for being what they and he calls refreshingly direct, lighting inspirational fires to drive change. He facilitates, mentors, and coaches individuals and teams in the areas of leadership presence, personal brand, change leadership, innovation, strategic dialogue, creating board-level influence, and earning a seat at the executive table. With the use of actors, cutting-edge virtual realities, and a new leadership framework, clients have shown award-winning differences in the ways they lead. Colin prides himself by practicing what he preaches with being wrong more and learning fast from it.